Driving home from High Wycombe on Saturday 18 August we stopped in Milton Keynes, and went to the Church of Christ the Cornerstone – SP 850 388. It wasn’t that busy on a Saturday morning – the café wasn’t open – but that part of MK seems to be more offices than anything else. The website is at http://www.cornerstonemk.co.uk/. We looked at buying our first house in MK around 1985 – I remember reading the brochures one lunchtime while I was working in London – and we have visited this church once before. It was described as MK’s Cathedral, but it doesn’t really have a “cathedral feel” when you enter. Looking at its list of services, it doesn’t have that pattern either. However we got a welcome from the chap in the shop, and it was nice to have a wander in, an explore, and a pray.
The ecumenical scene in the 1980s was rather more lively than it is today. Churches nationally were working together, and each County would have a paid ecumenical officer. Nowadays there are probably no County Officers left and, while each denomination is supposed to have an Ecumenical Officer (I am the CE one for Derbyshire), most of us do it on top of the day job, and the powers-that-be seem to have no real interest in what we do. If I remember right, most churches on the estate in the new City of MK were ecumenical (ie several different denominations working together), often with two or three ministers from different churches. 40 years later most of these churches still exist, probably with only one minister. There are now far more churches (in the sense of denominations and groupings) than there were 40 years ago, but getting them together is even harder. When we do work together good things are achieved – and I am grateful for the variety of churches and experience that made me.
It was in 1979 that the Church of England, the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the United Reformed Church came together in a partnership to worship together in the city centre, and this church building was opened in 1992. The Covenant that they signed is at http://www.cornerstonemk.co.uk/who-we-are/our-history/ and I like this line: “Travelling as Pilgrims on a journey that has already started and which will lead we know not where, we are pleased to place our trust in God, in whose hands the future lies, and to be led forward by Him.”
You can tell it is a C20 church – “The architect for the church was Iain Smith of Planning Design Development Ltd, a local Milton Keynes firm. The architect of the flanking office blocks, however, were Conran Roche. The contract for the overall development of Church Square was won by Beazer Developments Ltd. The church itself was built by Marriotts of Rushden, Northants.” No Christopher Wren on this dome!
According to https://www.buckschurches.uk/glass/building.php?buildingid=172 the blue window is by A. Beleschenko and the etched cross behind the altar and pulpit by Diane Radford.
I really wanted to see this memorial window. Fiona lived just down the road from us near Huntingdon and Julie met her when they both did a car maintenance course in the mid-80s. She also took me out in the car on a few occasions when I was learning to drive. She was engaged to Paul, a priest in Birmingham, and we went to their wedding in Hemingford in 1986. We went off to Theological College in Lincoln and didn’t see much of each other – and then, just after I had been ordained and started my curacy (1994), we received the news that Fiona had been taken ill and died.
The window artist was David Peace and the maker was Sally Scott. The quote is from Mahatma Ghandi, “Truth is like a vast tree which yields more and more fruit the more you nurture it. The deeper the search in the mind of truth, the richer the discovery of the gems buried there.”
Finally we went into the little chapel. I ignored the plethora of notices and lit a candle in her memory. You meet some lovely people as you journey through this world.